The St. John’s Farmers’ Market has a chance to win another $50,000 towards their new space on Freshwater Road, which is set to open in the Summer of 2018.

For a second time, they’re in the running in The Aviva Community Fund Competition. Winning this competition in 2015 allowed them to reach the target the city asked them to meet ($100,000), in order for the City to greenlight the Farmers’ Market taking over and transforming the old Metrobus Depot.

This time around, they want the $50,000 to ensure the new market will be a Green Dining space, meaning “a low to zero waste dining experience.”

“With thousands of people eating thousands of meals at the market every week, we hope to be a leader in environmentally friendly dining,” says Joshua Smee, Chair of the SJFM Cooperative’s Board of Directors. “To get there, we’ll need a ton of durable, reusable dishes, cutlery, mugs and fixings to wash it all.”

They also want glassware and a water-filling station. The dishes Smee speaks of would be washed by an employee/volunteer team in their commercial kitchen.

The one consistent complaint about our Farmers’ Market as it exists, is that it’s too crowded to enjoy or even shop at. The new space will remedy that, and draw larger crowds. But with those larger crowds will come more waste. Hence the plan to go green as possible, and avoid all the garbage associated with people buying and eating meals on-site.

“We will, for the first time, have the space to allow significant amounts of indoor seating, which will be very much needed with meals now being consumed from plates and glasses rather than takeout boxes,” they say.

The new space will also allow the market to house more vendors, provide indoor spaces in inclement weather, stay open for longer hours, and be open more days of the week, and, as it does now, provide even more local businesses with a solid launching pad (as it’s done for spots like Mohamad Ali’s and Soul Azteka).

That such a space could be as green as it’s gonna be great, would be a real cherry on top. To date, The Market has already enforced a move away from styrofoam, to compostable containers, but sadly our province lacks the composting infrastructure necessary to handle them (though they do break down more quickly in landfills).

For customers that wish to take their food home, The Market intends to offer reusable food containers that can be purchased for a small deposit, used, brought home, and then brought back and exchanged for a new, clean container. (Unfortunately, regulations do not allow the public to bring their own re-usabales from home, as there’s no way to know if they’ve been properly washed up to code.)

The voting round started October 10th, and is open until October 19th. You are not too late, you can cast all 18 of your votes in one day, on any one idea. Click here to vote. A vote for this is a vote for a cleaner, greener St. John’s.

If you feel like sharing the local love with your 18 votes, there are 3 other local operations in the running for this funding: Stable Life Inc.’s Youth Project, The Pottle Centre’s Warm Hearts, Full Bellies project, and  the Vera Perlin Society’s Button Shop Renovation.